Thursday, 4 June 2015

4 Jun: Thursday ride to Stradishall and Clare

Edward writes: Summer at last! Possibly it's here for a couple of days at least. However long it lasts this was a day to enjoy as the sun was out, it was getting warmer all the time, blue skies and not too much of the ever-present wind which has plagued so many of our rides through May. Today we had a chance to enjoy the Suffolk countryside as our ride would take us out to Stradishall and then a relatively short hop to Clare.

Shortly after leaving Hauxton we had nineteen riders as we headed out to Whittlesford and the cycleway into Sawston. As always, with such a large group, we set out with good intentions of riding in two groups, but as the barriers were down at the level crossing we all came together again.

After the train had gone Rupert successfully corralled a group together and led a following group and the smaller lead group was able to make quicker progress and so opened up quite a large gap.

Rather than use the A505 cycle route we opted to take the old route through the farm and out into Little Abington to the A1307 which later in the day Charlie would have good reason to remember.

Approaching Whittlesford (Photo: Alex Brown)

Whittlesford

Crossing the A11 (Photo: Alex Brown)

Babraham Farm Bridge

Little Abington (Photo: Alex Brown)

To get to Stradishall is much like going to Saffron Walden as there are few options and so it was that after crossing the A1307 we went via Hildersham followed by the climb up to Balsham and this was into what wind there was and we were always aware of its presence.

We followed the road along to West Wratting where Peter W was waiting for us with iced drinks and biscuits, all very welcome as our ride to Stradishall would be a 23 mile journey.

Peter provides welcome refreshments (Photo: Alex Brown)

West Wratting

Peter joined the second group as the first half dozen or so pressed on through Weston Green before joining the always delightful two miles or so to the Thurlows. After Thurlow the first group speeded up with the intention of being first in the queue for coffee at Adam's at Stradishall where we arrived at 11.30 to find Adrian and David M already there. After about five minutes we had all arrived and the staff coped very well with about twenty plus cyclists, probably relieved that the usual bikers weren't out today.

Shortly after midday day it was time to go and we took the road which loops round and back to the A134. It was nice to see that this was under repair and what a splendid job they are doing with properly sealed repairs and a smooth surface. We crossed the A134 and made our way to Denston and we were now in very pleasant and quiet roads well away from the hurly-burly of all the traffic.

Denston

After Denston we came to Stansfield and then we turned back to Assington Green and this was a particularly pleasant part of our journey through narrow leafy lanes.

Pause before lunch (Photo: Alex Brown)

This loop brought us out above the road to Poslingford and now it was all downhill as we passed through Poslingford and the last couple of miles into Clare arriving at 1.15pm

Towards Poslingford

Towards Poslingford

There was no set lunch-time venue booked in Clare so some people bought fish and chips but most either bought lunch in the local Co-op or had brought their own sandwiches which were eaten under the shade of the trees in the country park where a small piece of railway track is still visible serving as a reminder that this small town was once served by the railway and it would have been possible to take a train from Cambridge via Shelford to get here.

Just before 2pm we started the return leg which took us first to Ashen and as we were still heading mostly southwards the wind which was against in the morning was still not giving us much benefit.

Near Ashen

However, this came as we reached Ridgewell and cycling became a lot easier and soon we were on the approaches to Steeple Bumpstead as we chose the slightly quicker way on the B1054.

Approaching Birdbrook (Photo: Alex Brown)

Next, of course, it was Helions Bumpstead and rather than Castle Camps we chose the far more scenic road via Olmstead Green and the long downhill into Bartlow and then up to Linton.

Olmstead Green

This brought us via Hildersham and the last crossing of the A1307 which we all crossed except for Charlie who was left waiting to cross for a near eternity - how busy can a road be? Finally he came across and we returned to Sawston once more by the farm track into Babraham where a large contingent left us to go into Cambridge along the A1307, leaving the last half dozen or so to head into Great Shelford for the final goodbyes with the ride finishing at 4.30 pm and 64 miles. Edward Elmer

Sawston



Download GPS track (GPX).

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